Tag: Bribery

Bad Lawyers: Trump’s Fixer

By now it is well known that Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, doesn’t really practice law. As a graduate of one of the worst law schools in the US, Cohen functions mostly as a bagman for Trump and his business, that has been under the watchful eye of federal investigators for years …

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The Russian Connection: Pee Tapes, Love Children and Grand Juries, Oh My

Unless you’re totally detached from the news, you most likely know that former FBI Director James Comey wrote a book. That book revealed a lot, much o which we already knew but now confirmed by a person directly involved with Donald Trump and his cabal. Comey is not by any definition of the word a …

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When All Else Fails, They Lie

The Republicans are determined to pass some form of health care bill by the end of this week when the time runs out to pass it with 51 votes. In a desperate move to get the needed votes from two of the three hold outs, Senators Lisa Murkowsky (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME), revisions were …

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The China Connection and Other Travails of a TBTF Bank

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

JP Morgan Chase is once again under investigation by the Department of Justice. This time for possibly bribing the daughter of the Chinese prime minister with a lucrative business deal to gain preferential treatment on the Chinese markets.

To promote its standing in China, JPMorgan Chase turned to a seemingly obscure consulting firm run by a 32-year-old executive named Lily Chang.

Ms. Chang’s firm, which received a $75,000-a-month contract from JPMorgan, appeared to have only two employees. And on the surface, Ms. Chang lacked the influence and public name recognition needed to unlock business for the bank.

But what was known to JPMorgan executives in Hong Kong, and some executives at other major companies, was that “Lily Chang” was not her real name. It was an alias for Wen Ruchun, the only daughter of Wen Jiabao, who at the time was China’s prime minister, with oversight of the economy and its financial institutions.

While the bank emerged from the financial crisis stronger than it ever was, Moody’s Investors Service cut its ratings of the JPMC and three other banks after deciding the government would be less likely to help them repay creditors in a crisis. JPMorgan was cut to A3 from A2. According to Trace, the bond-price reporting system of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the yield on JPMorgan’s $2 billion of 3.375 percent subordinated notes due May 2023 slipped 10 basis points to 4.3 percent.

Moody’s said that there was less likelihood of a widespread bailout of banks by the United States government as there was during the financial crisis five years ago and that bank debt holders would be forced to shoulder more of the losses in the future.

But the rating agency said it expected banks would be required by regulators in the United States to hold a higher level of capital, which was likely to result in higher recoveries for creditors in any future bank default. [..]

Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the Federal Reserve has been limited in its ability to provide taxpayer money to individual banks, and failing banks would be wound down in a so-called orderly liquidation, in which creditors would bear the bulk of the burden of the losses.

However, some critics have expressed doubts that regulators could handle the liquidation of one or more of the nation’s largest banks in a severe financial crisis.

In the midst of this, somebody at JPMC thought it would be a great idea to hold a Twitter Q&A with the public using the hashtag #AskJPM. The results were extremely amusing but a major PR #FAIL for the bank. Award winning actor Stacy Keech, the voice of American Greed, reads some of the best tweets verbatim.

If you’re a poet and good at writing haiku, Rolling Stone‘s contributing editor Matt Taibbi is offering a Jaime Dimon tee shirt for the best “J.P. Morgan Chase Q&A Fiasco” haiku. Matt will announce the winner Monday.

Is society inherently corrupt?

A look at the global arms industry and the effect corruption has on our politics, society and culture.

Bribery, fraud and dishonest conduct by people in power – corruption is a cancer in society, no matter where you live. But who are the guilty parties? Is corruption becoming socially accepted? And what can we do about it?

On this episode of South2North, Redi Tlhabi takes a look at the effect corruption has on our politics, society and culture.

Redi talks to Andrew Feinstein, a former parliamentarian and co-founder of Corruption Watch UK, an organisation dedicated to exposing bribery and corruption. Feinstein is also a whistleblower on illegal arms deals and the author of the book, The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade, that investigates the dark side of this trillion-dollar industry.

Feinstein explains why corruption in the global arms trade has interested him specifically:

“It’s estimated that the trade in weapons accounts for around 40 percent of all corruption in all world trade ….The thing that I think is so important about it is it runs to the core of the way we’re governed, because the trade in weapons is extremely closely tied into the mechanics of government. The defence manufacturers, those who make the weapons, are closely tied in to governments, to militaries, to intelligence agencies and crucially to political parties. So they have enormous influence.”

Campaign Manifesto #2: In Which We Travel To Wisconsin

So when we were last together, as you all know, I announced that I’m fake running for Congress in Washington State’s 8th District-and that I’m doing it because, so far as I know, the best way to get a candidate to truly “come out Liberal” is to be a fake candidate…and to make good and sure The Campaign isn’t out chasing money when it’s being done.

Having made the announcement, we’re already making our first campaign trip-and oddly enough, our first trip as a Congressional candidate will take us to Madison, Wisconsin, where we’ll link up with a few folks who, apparently inspired by me, have taken to the streets in a very big way.

When we get there I’ll need a parka, a nice hat, a thermos of coffee, and a big fat Sharpie-so let me go get it all together, and then we’ll be on our way.

Morning Migraine: Democrats Finally Go For Jobs Program & Peace

United States to  Spend $7.5 Billion on jobs program on water, energy, and health.


…. a vision of a future in which all people can live safe, healthy, and productive lives; contribute to their communities; and make the most of their own God-given potential.”

Clinton said the U.S. will complete two hydroelectric dam projects to supply electricity to more than 300,000 people in areas near the Afghan border, will renovate or build three medical facilities in central and southern Pakistan and will embark on a new initiative to improve access to clean drinking water in the country.

These projects and several others focused on promoting economic growth will cost some $500 million and will be funded by legislation approved by Congress to triple nonmilitary aid to $1.5 billion a year over five years.

Vice President clarifies what it means to be elected because your country wanted a change in foreign policy after 7 years of war.   12 months x 103 per month = 1236 more fatalities by next July in Afghanistan, when we’ll…..  slow down.  


Vice President Joe Biden is taking a more cautious approach when it comes to next summer’s planned military U.S. troop drawdown in Afghanistan.

He once predicted the drawdown next July would mean “a lot of people moving out.”

But he tells ABC’s “This Week” that the number of U.S. troops leaving Afghanistan “could be as few as a couple of thousand troops.”  

Biden says it’s too early to judge whether the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan will succeed, but he says there is progress.

A record 103 NATO troops were killed in June, the deadliest month of the nearly 9-year-old war for international forces.

I know we can fix the international financial crisis and the domestic 20 out 10 Depression with more of the same.  And this should help the Democrats with their message fine tuning during the fall campaigns.

Whew.  And here I was worried about that oil well developing a little leak.  

The Only Issue

The battle for Health Care is already over. It was over the minute the Democrats took single payer off the table. Now it’s just a tug of war between the lobbyists and the legislators to see how fake this fake reform will really be.

Did anyone really think that a political system as corrupt as ours could possibly produce anything but a corrupted product? Does anyone really believe another Obama speech is going to alter this fact?

Sometimes miracles do happen. So I’ve kept my mouth shut as this calamity has played out. But I accurately predicted all the way back in the campaign that a health care reform effort would, at best fail epically, and at worst actually make matters worse.

How did I know this? Am I an oracle from the netherworld? No. I predicted it because I am not insane. And by insane I mean doing the same thing over and over and over again while each time expecting different results. I mean WTF did people expect?

Progressives need to focus on one single issue for the rest of their lives if necessary: banning campaign contributions and other means to bribe politicians.

This is separate from campaign finance reform. There are a thousand ways we could finance elections. I’m sure we could come up with a few hundred that would be just, equitable and of benefit to the functioning of democracy.

The real issue is not how we finance elections. It is how we do not. We need a constitutional amendment to prohibit ever giving a penny to a public servant or candidate for office. It’s that simple.

This would be the second American Revolution and this country will continue to fail until it occurs. It will fail on health care reform, it will fail on climate change. It will fail on everything, just as it is failing now.

Removing the money from politics won’t solve all our problems. But it will at least eliminate the primary impediment that prevents us from solving those problems.  

Imagine politicians elected on the merit of their ideas instead of their ability to raise cash. George Bush would have never been governor, much less president.

Some day, historians will look back on this era as an absurdity – the way we look back on the days when monarchs enslaved the people or when we enslaved Africans.

Why wait?

Every other issue liberals and progressives care about, with the partial exception of civil rights, has one single source: the corruption of money. And yet we continue to attempt change without addressing this issue.

NOTHING WILL CHANGE until we get the money out of politics. There is no other issue that compares in importance. Not even close.

Sex, Bribes and Videotape. And Espionage. And Money Laundering…UPDATED X2

As noted in this post on DU,  Sibel Edmonds   recently testified  in the case of Rep. Jean Schmidt (yes that Jean Schmidt)  V. 2nd District Democratic U.S. Congressional candidate David Krikorian.  

Edmonds testimony is long, and the linked post on BradBlog has five videotape segments to watch.  I’ve only watched the first three so far, but wanted to post this information on Whistleblower Edmonds’ testimony which names names and alleges some very disturbing things regarding some Congress members, their staff members, and other government employees:

UPDATE: I forgot to mention Edmonds’ testimony regarding the “outing” of Brewster Jennings–Valerie Plame Wilson’s CIA cover agency, enabling her group to investigate the existence of/extent of WMD in the ME.  Edmonds’ alleged that a government official warned the Turkish government and/or Turkish/foreign “operatives” that BJ was a CIA cover agency.

UPDATE 2:  Via Edmonds’ website “In Congress We Trust–Not”:

Vanity Fair printed the story only after they made certain they were on sure footing in the face of any possible libel by lining up more than five credible sources, and after triple pit bull style fact-checking. They were vindicated; Hastert did not dare go after them, nor did he ever issue any true denial. Moreover, further vindication occurred only a month ago. On April 10, 2009, The Hill reported that the Former Speaker of the House was contracted to lobby for Turkey. The Justice Department record on this deal indicates that Hastert will now be “principally involved” on a $35,000-a-month contract providing representation for Turkish interests. That seems to be the current arrangement for those serving foreign interests while on the job in congress – to be paid at a later date, collecting on their IOU’s when they secure their positions with ‘the foreign lobby.’

Wow–$35,000 a month!  Selling out your fellow citizens and the best interests of your nation to foreign governtments/ interest groups certainly does pay well.  

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